T Nation

Is This a Complete Program?

I’ve been training for 3 years now using the BB split (chest/biceps, shoulders/triceps, back, legs) during that time. For the last 3 months though I’ve tried a Upper/Lower type split and have noticed some major improvements from higher frequency. My question is, is this a complete BB program or am I undertraining something?

There are two workouts I’ll do: Upper and Lower, and I set my week up so I hit Upper/Lower/Rest/Upper/Lower/Rest/Rest.

UPPER:

OHP - 5sets x 5 <---- is this enough to entirely target shoulders?

Bent Over BB Row 3sets x 5 <----- enough for entire back?

Incline BB Bench Press 3sets x 5 <----- entire chest?

Lying EZ Bar tricep extension 4sets x 8-12

DB curls or hammer curls 3sets x 8-12

DB Farmer’s Carries 2sets x 30sec.


LOWER:

Squat 5 x 5

Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 5

Leg Extension 3 x 8-12

Leg Curl 3 x 8-12

Seated Calf Raise 4 x 12

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
I’ve been training for 3 years now using the BB split (chest/biceps, shoulders/triceps, back, legs) during that time. For the last 3 months though I’ve tried a Upper/Lower type split and have noticed some major improvements from higher frequency. My question is, is this a complete BB program or am I undertraining something?

There are two workouts I’ll do: Upper and Lower, and I set my week up so I hit Upper/Lower/Rest/Upper/Lower/Rest/Rest.

UPPER:

OHP - 5sets x 5 <---- is this enough to entirely target shoulders?

Bent Over BB Row 3sets x 5 <----- enough for entire back?

Incline BB Bench Press 3sets x 5 <----- entire chest?

Lying EZ Bar tricep extension 4sets x 8-12

DB curls or hammer curls 3sets x 8-12

DB Farmer’s Carries 2sets x 30sec.


LOWER:

Squat 5 x 5

Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 5

Leg Extension 3 x 8-12

Leg Curl 3 x 8-12

Seated Calf Raise 4 x 12

[/quote]

In my opinion you need more variety to hit different muscle fibers, and focus on your weak points. Variety for you would be flat pressing one day then incline the next

Standing calf raises one day then seated the next. This is important to focus on both the gastrocnemius and the soleus

Lying Tricep extensions one day then overhead the next. Triceps really need 3 total movements. One with your arms by your side, one with arms in front of you and one with them above your head. Also when doing your lying tricep work do it on a decline, you should feel an immediate imrpovement.

Shoulders I would do a few varieties of pressing such as BB,DB,BTN, Arnold Presse ect, whatever two or three you enjoy.

I would also do lateral raises if side delts are a concern and most trainees have underdeveloped rear delts so that is a concern.

For back again you need to pull in different angles, so strongly consider pullups along wwth bent over rows.

Biceps are like triceps and should be trained in a maximally lengthened position ( incline curls) , mid position ( standard dB curls) and shortened position ( spider curls or overhead cable curls).

Another consideration is rep range. While 5 reps will build considerable strength, it is not perfect for bodybuilding( muscular hypertophy) purposes. How much a muscle grows depends on muscle fiber stimulation which is linked with time under tension . This is why most guys use 8-12 reps as a staple and 5 or less reps only periodically . 8-12 reps should work especially well for you if you have been doing the 5 rep sets a long period.

8-12 puts you right in the optimal time under tension , develops a pump which is thought to stimulate more growth through stimulating protein synthesis and releases lactic acid( the burning feeling) which makes your body release growth inducing hormones such as Testosterone and Growth Hormone.

Here is a excellent article on choosing exercises by Brad Schoenfeld

Best of luck to you and I hope that gives you a little insight on why certain exercise variety is extremely useful.

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
I’ve been training for 3 years now using the BB split (chest/biceps, shoulders/triceps, back, legs) during that time. For the last 3 months though I’ve tried a Upper/Lower type split and have noticed some major improvements from higher frequency. My question is, is this a complete BB program or am I undertraining something?

There are two workouts I’ll do: Upper and Lower, and I set my week up so I hit Upper/Lower/Rest/Upper/Lower/Rest/Rest.
[/quote]

So far, sounds good. I’ve written a lot in the past how increased frequency really helped me push when things were sort of plateuing at the intermediate stage of development.

The thing about upper body, is that there can be a lot of overlap in terms of one movement hitting more than just one muscle group. As such, certain choices can be key. Of course, depending on your health, age, etc, you may want to avoid overdoing ones that can seem repetitive on your joints (something I worry about in terms of longevity).

[quote]

UPPER:

OHP - 5sets x 5 <---- is this enough to entirely target shoulders? [/quote]

While a good movement, if your goal is hypertrophy and a solid physique, I think you’d be better suited doing laterals for that great ‘capped’ look to your delts. Assuming some pressing work for your chest, with front delts and triceps as secondaries recruited, this isn’t a required movement IMO.

[quote]
Bent Over BB Row 3sets x 5 <----- enough for entire back? [/quote]

Your back is mostly a group of muscles that contract in two basic planes: horizontal and vertical. This is why you will see most trainers always including some type of row as well as some type of pullup/down. I would say that you should either include one of each type of movement in your training day, or, do one on your first upper body day of the week, and the other on your second upper body day of the week. Either way, chances are you’re gonna need more than 3 sets to do some damage unless you’re a genetic freak.

[quote]
Incline BB Bench Press 3sets x 5 <----- entire chest?[/quote]

I always loved inclines, and I do honestly believe that they stretch and recruit much more fibers in your chest than flat pressing movements. WIll you build Coleman-esque pecs from just this movement? Nope, but it may be sufficient for an abbreviated routine, but with higher frequency. ALso, the “3 sets” of each movement,… I don’t see where that’s coming from.

[quote]
Lying EZ Bar tricep extension 4sets x 8-12[/quote]

Great movement. Yet you think you need more sets of this than a solid compound movement like incline presses… again, I don’t see the rationalization.

[quote]
DB curls or hammer curls 3sets x 8-12 [/quote]

Your forearm muscles will get some work from your back and delt exercises. If you’re only gonna do one movement for biceps, keep it something that targets the meat of the muscle (DB curls, BB curls etc) and not something that’s more for forearms and fine-tuning like hammer curls.

[quote]
DB Farmer’s Carries 2sets x 30sec.[/quote]

Why? Is this just another movement for forearms (2 for forearms but 1 for chest?) or is this sport specific for you?

ok…

[quote]
Leg Curl 3 x 8-12 [/quote]

Having a very uneven amount of work being done for Hams in comparison to quads is never a good idea.

If I were able to only do one movement for calves, it would be the one that targets the larger muscle in there (the gastrocnemius). Straight leg calf work hits that more strategically. Seated work primarily hits the soleus, which while it can push the gastroc out a bit if developed, shouldn’t be your main focus if you ask me.

S

Thanks for the feedback so far guys! The reason I?ve gone with 5x5 with most of the big compounds and higher rep ranges for isolation exercises is because I?m fairly weak, although I have a decent amount of mass. This is why I added in movements like the OHP which I struggle to lift 110 lbs for reps.

But bodybuilding/hypertrophy is my main goal nonetheless.

The reason why I reduced sets after the OHP (going from 5x5 to 3x5) is because I wanted to dedicate more to my weakest exercise and thought I might end up overtraining if I followed with 5x5 for BB rows and BB bench right after.

The reason for so much forearm work is because proportionate to my upper arm, my forearms are small from the last year or two of doing false grip/suicide grip and my grip becoming weak as a result.

To balance out quad/ham work on the Lower day, what additional exercise could you recommend for quads? A 3x8 leg press maybe?

I?ll add in standing calf raise on the 2nd Lower day of the week.

Thanks for the detailed breakdown on the program Stu!

Anytime man. For rep ranges it sounds like 6-8 could be a good median for your goals now or after you are satisfied/ plateaued on 5x5.

Good luck.

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
But bodybuilding/hypertrophy is my main goal nonetheless.[/quote]
Take a look at this program. It’s a 4 day a week upper/lower split by Clay Hyght:


It might give you an idea of how to arrange things.

I’m all for training everything within reason, but objectively-speaking, do you think your forearms really warrant a ton of attention? Very few people are in a place where a ton of forearm work is necessary. You’ll get a better “bang for your buck” making sure you’re training everything else plenty (especially back and bis), and then you can plug in minimal forearm work to top it off.

Give this a read:

Leg press, single-leg leg press, front squat, hack squat, sissy squat, lunge, step-up. Tons of options for quads. The Search Box (top right of the page) should bring up plenty of articles and threads with ideas.

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
The reason I?ve gone with 5x5 with most of the big compounds and higher rep ranges for isolation exercises is because I?m fairly weak, although I have a decent amount of mass. This is why I added in movements like the OHP which I struggle to lift 110 lbs for reps.

[/quote]

This does not add up.

How have you been training the past 3 years? If you’re still struggling with 110lbs for OHP, there’s something fundamentally wrong that a program isn’t going to solve.

[quote]dt79 wrote:

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
The reason I?ve gone with 5x5 with most of the big compounds and higher rep ranges for isolation exercises is because I?m fairly weak, although I have a decent amount of mass. This is why I added in movements like the OHP which I struggle to lift 110 lbs for reps.

[/quote]

This does not add up.
[/quote]

I spent the last 3 years doing the stereotypical BB split with high volume in 8-12 rep range. Never did OHP until starting the upper/lower split 3 months ago. And overall, never worried about 1RM or personal records. So it’s strange, I have a decent amount of mass, but I’m pretty weak in the big 3 (DL 1RM: 310, Squat 1RM: 275, Bench 1RM: 225).

In parallel to the OHP, my max for DB seated shoulder press is 150 for 2-3 reps. Not sure of my actual 1RM for OHP though.

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
So it’s strange, I have a decent amount of mass, but I’m pretty weak in the big 3 (DL 1RM: 310, Squat 1RM: 275, Bench 1RM: 225).[/quote]
What’s your current height, weight, and general leanness (abs showing, muffin top, something in-between, etc)?

For dumbbell work, it’s standard form to discuss them in terms of the individual DB weight, not combined. So, you just wrote that you’re using 150-pounds in each hand. I’m thinking that’s not the case though.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:
So it’s strange, I have a decent amount of mass, but I’m pretty weak in the big 3 (DL 1RM: 310, Squat 1RM: 275, Bench 1RM: 225).[/quote]
What’s your current height, weight, and general leanness (abs showing, muffin top, something in-between, etc)?

For dumbbell work, it’s standard form to discuss them in terms of the individual DB weight, not combined. So, you just wrote that you’re using 150-pounds in each hand. I’m thinking that’s not the case though.[/quote]

5’8" / 165 lbs / abs showing just barely, but decent overall definition/vascularity

Yeah sorry, it’s 150 split to two 75 DBs.

[quote]Euphoria89 wrote:

5’8" / 165 lbs / abs showing just barely, but decent overall definition/vascularity

[/quote]

Ok this adds up. Kinda.